22 Sep 2017: Fishermen of Shetland Press Lord Duncan for answers on Brexit plans and get the usual waffle
Shetland fishermen reiterated their desire to see the UK take control of its waters post-Brexit after meeting with Scotland Office minister Lord Duncan.
The Association chairman said Brexit presented an opportunity for significant growth in Shetland’s single most important industry but there were concerns that fishing may be used is a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations as the UK looks ahead to leaving the EU. He went on:
“Right back to the days when I was regularly at sea, fishermen have felt left behind by a system that allowed overseas boats to fish often very close to our shores at times when we were unable to. That can now be rectified, and we hope and expect ministers in the Brexit negotiations to stand up for our industry, restore control and let us negotiate any access as a fishing nation in the annual coastal states talks like Norway does.”
Lord Duncan said it would be a “disgrace” to see fisheries access traded away in EU negotiations and added that the UK government would be happy to liaise with the Scottish Government on the allocation of fishing quotas. He added:
“Fishermen up and down the land are hopeful that there will be more quota. That makes perfect sense – the bulk of the fish is caught in our waters. The question then comes – how shall that quota be allocated? If you were to allocate it, as the previous quota was allocated, based on a track record which had been historically determined, then a large amount of that would go to England, if you devolved it right down to that level. At the moment, they probably couldn’t catch it, and don’t have the vessels to catch it. So if you devolve the quota right down to that level you’re going to create a problem potentially for a quota that remains uncaught, and for Scottish vessels not getting as they would argue entitlement to which they legitimately expect. So should there be a common British quota approach, or not? We’ve suggested to the Scottish Government to talk about that, and they’re suggesting that’s a power grab.” Full article here:
Shetland fishermen should cast their thoughts to the track record of the Tory Party. See below.
SECRET papers, reveal how the Scottish fishing fleet was betrayed by the Tory government 30 years ago to enable Britain to sign up to the controversial Common Fisheries Policy.
Prime Minister Edward Heath’s officials estimated that up to half the fishermen in Scottish waters – then 4,000 men – could lose their jobs, but the decision was taken to go ahead with plans to sign up because it was believed that the benefits to English and Welsh fishermen would outweigh the disadvantages in Scotland.
Three decades on, with the same policy now threatening the very survival of the Scottish whitefish fleet, the new revelations are certain to fan the flames of deepening unrest in Scotland’s coastal communities.
In a memo dated 11 December 1970, on the negotiations to sign up to the CFP, the department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland conceded that the policy would lead to a “weaker and less efficient national fleet”.
A DAFS briefing note warned: “In short, at present it is much easier to see the drawbacks for our fishermen likely to be involved in the Common Fisheries Policy than to be at all positive that there will be benefits to offset, let alone outweigh them.”
Another DAFS paper in July 1970 warned that the small boat section of the Scottish industry would be damaged and the benefits might not outweigh the disadvantages.
It said the small boats were more likely to be affected because they were “less enterprising and less mobile”.
Alex Smith, the president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said that the release of the secret papers had only served to confirm what Scottish fishermen had always suspected – the Scottish fleet was expendable.
He said: “I have never doubted that that was what happened. No-one seemed to care about the Scottish fishing industry and at one time there wasn’t even going to be even a three mile limit for Scottish boats.
“I was a skipper in Arbroath at the time we joined the Common Market. There was no such thing as a fishermen’s federation in those days and it was fishermen in Arbroath who began opposing the plan.
“I was on our committee and we organised a big meeting, attended by 200 fishermen from the north and west and all over. And it was out of that we managed to negotiate the ten year 12-mile limit.” (The.Scotsman)